Tuesday, August 2, 2022
Can You Tell Whether It’s Crackers or Crud?
Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our ancestors?
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.
Words of Grace For Today
A mess grows on the ground where I split wood all winter long, and then stack the split logs with other pieces of wood that can be burned without splitting them. Every spring or summer I get around to raking it clean, down to the original ground. Shovelful after shovelful gets loaded up and carried away to a place where the inevitable ant farms will not matter, nor will the decaying wood cause trouble with the camp.
For lunch I often finish off with a few crackers. I cannot eat bread without suffering digestive distress until it passes. I seem to get away with eating a few crackers. Same kind of grains. Crackers are probably less nutritious with all the additional ingredients and processing. Doesn’t make sense that my system will tolerate the thing that is worse for me and reject the thing that would be healthier for me (if the bread is not also highly processed – not the kind of bread I would eat anyway, not after discovering and enjoying real good and hearty breads in Germany so many decades ago.)
Crackers or bread, they come from the same things, right?
And that crud leftover under the wood splitting pile, if one subtracts the inevitable dirt that gets mixed in, it too comes from the same thing, since it grows from the ground, right?
Yes. All grow from the same earth. Yet they are certainly not equal, not in so many ways and certainly not when one considers what to put in one’s belly for food.
Are all people equal, having come from the same creator, even having descended from the same father, Noah, maybe even the same father Abraham? Well, not so you would notice.
It’s not that people are unequal based on colour, creed, gender, slave or free, rich or poor, powerful or not. People are not equal because, well:
It’s that some people are through and through kind. Most people are not.
It’s that some people are honest. Most people are not.
It’s that some people are generous. Most people are not.
It’s that some people are forgiving. Most people are not.
It’s that some people are at peace with themselves, other people, and the world. Most people are not.
It’s that some people are grateful. Most people are not.
It’s that some people are loving, giving of themselves so that others will live well. Most people are not.
It’s that some people are hopeful. Most people are not.
By what measure then are we going to agree with Paul and in humility treat others as better than ourselves?
And there is the key; how do we treat others? It is not that when we are kind, honest, generous, forgiving, at peace, grateful, loving and hopeful we are less than all the people who are not. We do live better. (Not with more wealth, privileges, or comforts, but we live better in all the ways God intended us to live well.)
It is that when we are kind, honest, generous, forgiving, at peace, grateful, loving and hopeful we need not judge who is and who is not as good as us. We hope that all people are as good, and can live as well. We know that most people are not, but nothing in our lives stands or falls on us asserting how good we are. Well, actually if we assert how good we judge ourselves to be, as better than others, a lot of our kindness, honestly, forgiving attitude, being at peace, being grateful, loving and hopeful disappears like the breath of a dinosaur on a cold winter day.
When we are kind, honest, generous, forgiving, at peace, grateful, loving and hopeful we can and do treat others as better than ourselves, hoping that they might be or will be.
And no matter how kind, honest, generous, forgiving, at peace, grateful, loving and hopeful we are, we are still members of the broken and sinful human race, incapable of freeing ourselves from our sin. Only God can make us kind, honest, generous, forgiving, at peace, grateful, loving and hopeful, so we have no right to claim to be better than others. All our goodness is reckoned to us, not earned by us, by God’s kindness, honesty, generosity, forgiveness, peace, gratefulness, love and hope (hope that we might catch on someday, somehow to how ambition and deceit destroy us), and God wishes us life, and life lived well. An abundant live.
Crackers, Bread, or Crud. Those we better judge well which is which. People bad, good, better. That we get to leave up to our merciful God.
Can you taste the difference?
Why would you try?